Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT OF THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCAINE OFFENSE ***** ***** IMPACT ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and crack cocaine related offenses in what is known as the 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986'. These stricter sentenc*****g guidelines were ***** to address the emerging *****sue of ***** cocaine which w***** perceived to be."..a social menace ***** *****as categorically different from powder ***** in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack cocaine is powder cocaine mixed with banking soda ***** then cooked into hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces and sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than ***** cocaine and aroused great public concern when ***** first hit the streets in the United States. According ***** Alfred Blumstein ***** Carnegie Mellon University, as reported by Coyle (2002) in the work entitled: "Race ***** Class Penalties ***** Crack Cocaine Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "crack distribution rights *****d boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (Coyle, 2002) The follow*****g table relates ***** median street-level dealer drug quantities and mandatory minimum imposed by the Anti-Drug ***** of 1986.

Median Street-Level Drug Quantities and M*****atory Minimums

*****

Median Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack Cocaine

52 grams

10 years

Powder *****

340 *****

Source: ***** (2002

***** created the United ***** Sentencing Commission in 1984 for the purpose of developing federal sentencing ***** for the purpose of bringing about a reduction of sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out ***** ***** Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Commission was instructed to conduct a study relating to different penalties in powder- ***** *****-cocaine *****. ***** study lasted ***** duration of one year with recommendations by the Commission to the U.S. Congress to revise the crack/powder 100:1 sentencing disparity due to findings that due to the small differences in the two forms ***** cocaine ***** such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) of the quantity ratio that would require manda*****ry ***** relating to the two forms of cocaine. Commission ***** included advisement ***** guidelines in federal sentenc*****g should be based *****on criteria other than the type ***** drug for determination of ***** lengths of sentences. These recommendations were rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal to make changes to ***** law and was in fact the first such move in the history of the United States Sentencing ***** since its' *****mation. Once again, ***** were made in April 1997 regarding the disparity in sentencing between crack- and powder-cocaine that the differential sentencing should be balanced through provision of a range of 2:1 to 15:1 for Congress to choose ***** among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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